Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … March 12th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Man: I hope you don’t mind me sending along my ideas and feelings in the form of this note. I just didn’t want to sit down and have a face-to-face discussion, get interrupted and lose my train of thought.

Even though I see us making gradual progress to understand one another, I feel there is one large hurdle that we just can’t seem to get over.

You think I’m weak.

It’s not your fault. You were taught to do it. All the television shows portray women as having great intelligence, but falling apart under pressure.

You and I were born practically equal.

For the first ten years of our lives, our bodies were almost the same. I ran as fast as you, and you cried like a girl when you fell down and skinned your knee. Then the natural order–Mother Nature–came along and changed things to make sure that our species would be able to have a mother and a father to push the plan ahead.

I got estrogen, which gave me breasts, a period and hormones of sensitivity. You got testosterone, which gave you balls and a single-mindedness toward single-handedly procreating the species.

I no longer could run as fast as you could.

I couldn’t lift as much weight.

A few days every month, I found myself nearly out of commission due to my menstrual cycle.

At that point, you looked upon me as weaker.

It infuriated me. I could still think, feel and react with as much smarts as you, but because of my lesser muscle mass and need to mother children, I felt that I lost respect in your eyes.

I hate that.

It seems ridiculous to me that we view one another based upon the conditions of our genetic responsibility instead of realizing that we are both human beings and share almost everything in common.

I am tired of being the weakling–but I’m also tired of apologizing for having an emotional side which you may or may not understand.

So you try to be sensitive to my lack. That can make you consider me the weaker sex, which can end up with me being nothing more than “the little woman.”

Do you understand? I can’t be just “the little woman” and stay sane. I have to be more than a birthing chamber that ovulates three or four days a month.

I yearn for the time when we were children and had a childlike appreciation for each other. There were no “girl baseball teams” and “boy baseball teams.” We played all the games together.

I don’t want to be your weakling.

I don’t want to struggle to get respect because I’m seen as inferior. I don’t want to be viewed as bitchy and pushy.

Do you understand what I’m saying? Can you fathom how horrible you would feel if you were deemed second-rate? Why would it feel any different for me?

I thank you for reading this.

I’m not trying to blame you–I’m just curious if you can comprehend my heart.

Can we escape the futility of separating the sexes into Mommy and Daddy?

You don’t need to respond, but if you do, be candid and not afraid to share you heart.

I was thinking of you.

Woman

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Amos ‘n Angie… March 8, 2013

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Amos and AndyTwo out of work white actors–veterans of minstrel shows–came up with an idea to present a pair of Negro characters who were shiftless, rather ignorant, clumsy and ill-suited for everyday life, and dubbed them Amos  ‘n Andy. Spanning four decades and being translated from radio to television, this twosome created great comedy among the predominately white community in America, and laughs aplenty.

The only difficulty is that when issues of civil rights, human respect and equality came to the forefront, Amos ‘n Andy needed to be shoved to the back of the bus. It was.

Today nearly all Americans would be embarrassed to watch or listen to an episode of the repugnant spoof. They would be shocked at the underlying meanness and condescension in the scripts. But not so–for four decades. It was a staple of American life, and along with minstrel shows, in its own way attempted to keep the darker-skinned portions of our society at bay–from ever considering themselves toe-to-toe with the white community.

I don’t think anyone would disagree with what I just wrote. Most folks would nod their heads or “amen” such a denouncement of obvious racial bigotry and the process of limiting one group of people from ascending to their rightful position.

Yet every single night of the week on TV, and in most of our movies, we continue the same assault, merely changing the characters from Amos ‘n Andy to Amos ‘n Angie. We portray the battle between men and women to be a natural phenomenon, ordained by God, a conflict with no resolution and only worthy of cynical satire, not ever to be considered a resolvable stand-off.

Sometimes the dialogue favors women, making men look dull, stupid and Neanderthal. Other times, the humor is testosterone-driven, with women appearing bitchy, unreasonable, and of course in the end, vulnerable and desperately in need of a hug.

The parallel is there–and it is rather doubtful that we will ever have civil rights, social rights or national rights for all people as long as we tolerate an ongoing squabble between half the people against the other half. Yes, as long as we insist that men and women are so adverse to one another,  the only way to handle the imbalance will be to laugh at it.

How is the old Amos ‘n Andy minstrel show like the present Amos ‘n Angie square-off between the sexes? It works on the same four principles:

1. “They are so different from us that they’re just funny.” As in the case of Amos ‘n Andy, the new portrayal of men and women being cosmically ill-suited is just a way of hiding prejudice.

2. “They don’t make sense.” The two white actors who played Amos and Andy worked very hard to make their accents almost unintelligible, portraying the deep-rooted ignorance of their characters. Likewise, nowadays tirades of either men or women on TV shows and in movies lead the audience to believe that one or the other of the sexes is stupid.

3. They are always bickering. It was a hallmark of Amos ‘n Andy. Nowadays, the way to get people to chuckle is to portray that men and women can not find any common humanity, but instead, must bicker and fuss with each other until they fall into bed and resolve their problems between the sheets.

4. Finally–and probably most dastardly–watching one of these bigoted spoofs makes the viewer walk out thinking, “They are not like us.” The best way to keep the black man from the vote and civil rights was to stand on stage and portray him as the numskull. As long as that was permitted, all the marches from Selma to Montgomery were just walks in the park. And as long as we have entertainment which insists there is an evolutionary gap between the male and female that cannot be spanned, we will continue to have unnecessary conflict which will reflect on our society as permission to segregate.

Just as it took brave people to stand up and declare Amos ‘n Andy a dangerous attack on human beings, we are going to need some very insightful folks to refuse to participate in the Amos and Angie presentations permeating our culture.

Ironically, many of the black comedians who would be appalled at Amos ‘n Andy are now jumping on the bandwagon of Amos ‘n Angie, making a quick buck off of sarcasm and cheap shots at the genders.

You can still write a funny piece based upon a man and woman discovering how to become more like one another, thus signing an eternal peace treaty of the soul. But no one wants to do that as long as Amos ‘n Angie is selling. It’s just like no one wanted to stop Amos ‘n Andy when there were advertisers lined up to support it.

I will guarantee you, in thirty years many or most of the television shows we now extol as comedic wonders will be viewed as cultural bigotry. The issue is–will YOU be one of the ones to notice before it becomes so obvious that even the common riff-raff of Hollywood has to give up the ignoble cause?

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